Your job interview is going well and you're feeling confident.

And then they ask: “In what course did you get the worst grades, and why?”

A woman asks a man,

What You Shouldn't Say

A Star Trek character says,

Saying that you had a tough professor or had roommate problems, or a sick pet, or that college is useless may seem like good answers, but they all sound like excuses.

That is not what the interviewer wants to hear!

What the Interviewer Wants to Know

The interviewer wants to evaluate:

  • Your attitude towards school and work

  • How you dealwith disappointments and setbacks

  • Your sense of values and priorities

A man asks,

Your answer should:

  • Be honest about why you got bad grades and own your mistakes

  • Describe how you learned and acquired skills inside/outside of the classroom

  • Focus on personal growth and development

Example Responses

Undecided Freshman

Flaticon Icon

If your worst grade was during freshman year when you were still figuring out what to major in:

I took chemistry in my freshman year thinking that I wanted to work in pharmaceuticals, but soon figured out that it was not my passion [explains briefly, without blaming anyone else].

I also took psychology that year and realized that helping students as a school counselor is what I want to do [you found your passion].

You can see that I had excellent grades when I found an area of study that I'm passionate about and good at [shows your growth].

Overwhelmed Junior

Flaticon Icon

If your worst grade was in your junior year when you took one too many courses and were involved in many extracurriculars:

In my junior year, I took 6 courses and didn't do well in one of the electives [explains briefly, takes ownership of decision to take too many courses].

But my involvement in the nature, hiking, and bird watching clubs taught me a lot about conservation and prepared me to work for the National Park Service [acquired skills outside of classroom].

I've been an intern at a wild-life conservation organization taking on more responsibilities over the last year [shows growth]. I think my real-world skills and passion for nature and conservation are going to help me excel as your employee.

Quiz: Alice's Interview

Flaticon Icon

Alice has an upcoming job interview and is preparing her answer to “In what course did you get your worst grades, and why?” 

She is considering talking about:

A. A tough physics professor who didn't give extra credit assignments and gave her a bad grade, and half the class failed that course.

B. Her poor grades in Math-1, because it was just not well explained in class, but she doesn't need to know college-level math for this job.

C. Working two jobs in sophomore yea,r which compromised her grades in Spanish, but she joined the Spanish club and improved her proficiency in Spanish.


Which answer should Alice choose to respond to the question?

Take Action

Harry Potter says,

Be prepared to answer the question: "In what course did you get your worst grades, and why?"


Your feedback matters to us.

This Byte helped me better understand the topic.

Get support to take action on this Byte